A Brief History of Humankind Sapiens
Yuval Noah Harari
Contributed by Tereasa Jacob

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Chapter 5

In a nutshell, the chapter indicates that 2.5 million years ago, humans gathered plants and hunted animals to feed themselves. According to the chapter, Homo ergaster and Homo erectus and Neanderthal depended on wild sheep and wild figs for food.  Homo sapiens lived in East Africa then proceeded to Middle East, Asia and Europe. However, later the Homo sapiens spread to America and Australia, and proceeded with gathering and hunting of wildlife for their survival. Most notable in the chapter is that the political dynamics, religious beliefs and social structures of Homo sapiens significantly changed, 10, 000 years ago because they spent time on compromising the lives of plants and animals. Mankind started sowing seeds, irrigated plants and weeded them. Man also began taking the sheep to grazing grounds, especially for meat. Ideally, the chapter underscores the domestication of plants and animals that revolutionized agriculture. The chapter has laid bare that humans began manipulating plants as well as animals’ lives and that set firm footing for agricultural revolution. This comes out in the statement where Harari (70) all this changed about 10,000 years ago, when Sapiens began to devote almost all their time and effort to manipulating the lives of a few animal and plant species.


As noted in this chapter, its main theme was to narrate the stories about domestication and its impact on human society. From the chapter, it is overtly stated that mankind domesticated plants as well as animals and that considerably laid the foundation of agriculture. When plants and animals were domesticated, sapiens had to reorganize themselves and adopted a new lifestyle that was agriculturally-based, which was totally different from a hunter-gatherer-kind of lifestyle. Arguably, this chapter sets the basis for agricultural revolution and organizations of societies. When humankind sapiens started domesticating plants and animals, they saw the necessity of grouping in communities forming more structured and organized societies.

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